Celebrate MyPlate This Summer

June 2nd is MyPlate’s 11th birthday! Celebrate with these 11 tips for teaching with MyPlate, using materials from NutritionEducationStore.com and MyPlate.gov:

  1. First stop: Look at all the items available in our MyPlate theme. Whether you’re planning a booth at a health fair or decorating a bulletin board, you’re sure to find something inspiring here.
  2. Make it your own: Everyone’s MyPlate doesn’t have to look the same! Give your audience the MyPlate Quiz to assess current eating patterns and identify healthy eating interests.
    • Each person who completes the quiz receives a snapshot of how they’re doing on the food groups, along with personalized resources and tip sheets.
    • Users can also sync their quiz results in the free Start Simple with MyPlate app and set food group goals based on those results.
  3. MyPlate 101: Offer a class on MyPlate. We’ve done the work for you with our MyPlate PowerPoint lesson, which includes three different presentations with handouts:
    • MyPlate for Adults
    • MyPlate Express
    • MyPlate for Kids
  4. Go social: Let your friends and followers know it’s MyPlate’s birthday. Encourage them to share their favorite summertime meals, nutrition tips, or activities using #MyPlateBirthday.
  5. Make it fun: Everyone will learn about MyPlate AND have fun playing ourMyPlate Trivia Game or MyPlate Bingo.
  6. Earn the badge: MyPlate’s Birthday App Challenge runs from June 1 through June 30, 2022. Achieve 11 food group goals to earn the 11th birthday badge!
  7. MiPlato: Distribute these color handouts that come in English and Spanish:
  8. Ask Alexa: MyPlate is now an Alexa skill!
  9. Wear the MyPlate message: Give out our MyPlate (or MiPlato) wristbands.
  10. Get cooking: Find healthy, delicious recipes online in the MyPlate Kitchen.
  11. Eat with your eyes: Take MyPlate further by using MyPlate Food Photos to show real, healthy, mouthwatering foods that go on real plates.

Find more ways to celebrate MyPlate’s 11th birthday here.

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

 

Show Off Fruits & Veggies

‘Tis the season for fresh fruits and vegetables and we have a beautiful new poster that shows them off. Take a look at the I Heart Fruits & Veggies poster:

Here are some ways to use this bright, eye-catching poster in your nutrition and health education:

  • With younger children:
    • Ask questions…
      • What colors do you see?
      • Can you count the fruits and veggies?
      • Can you name them?
      • Which ones do you eat?
      • Which ones have you never tried before?
    • Do a hands-on activity with a fruit or veggie that’s in season: look, touch, smell, taste.
    • Have a fruit & vegetable story time: here are some children’s book suggestions from University of Nevada Extension.
  • With teens and adults:
    • Ask questions…
      • How many of these fruits/veggies can you name?
      • Which ones have you tried?
      • Which ones do you like?
      • How do you prepare them?
      • Are there any that you’ve never tried?
      • Any you’ve never seen?
  • Alongside these nutrition education topics and activities:

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

4 Ways to Use the MyPlate App to Teach Healthy Eating on a Budget

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released Actions on Nutrition Security, a report on the agency’s commitment to ensuring both nutrition security and food security to support optimal health and well-being for all Americans.

  • Food security is having enough calories.
  • Nutrition security is having the right calories.

Healthy Eating on a Budget Poster

Our Healthy Eating on a Budget poster conveys a simple, yet effective, four-step approach to help your students, employees, or clients make healthy, budget-conscious decisions at the supermarket.

  • Step 1: Buy on sale and in season
  • Step 2: Buy less processed food
  • Step 3: Buy only what you need, avoid food waste
  • Step 4: Skip the royalties (high fat/high sugar foods and beverages, like chips, candy, and soda)

Go a step further by combining the Healthy Eating on a Budget poster with USDA’s free Shop Simple with MyPlate mobile or desktop app.

  • Create an eye-catching and informative bulletin board. Put the Healthy Eating on a Budget poster in the middle, surrounded with color printouts of key screenshots from the app, OR
  • Hold a lunch-and-learn session to introduce the four steps to eating healthy on a budget. Use the Shop Simple with MyPlate app to engage your audience in real-life scenarios.

Using MyPlate App with Healthy Eating on a Budget steps

  1. How to find seasonal fresh produce or the most affordable canned/frozen fruits and veggies using the Shop Simple with MyPlate app:
    • Click on Ways to Save -> Shop Smart -> Fruits and Vegetables. From here you’ll find a link to the Seasonal Produce Guide from SNAP-Ed Connection, as well as tips on choosing canned and frozen fruits and veggies.
    • You can also Browse Budget-Friendly Fruits and Browse Budget-Friendly Vegetables.
    • To locate the nearest farmers market, click on Farmers Markets in your area. Enter your zip code, then click on Find Farmers Markets. You’ll get a list of farmers markets in the area. Click on the market to get directions.
  1. How to choose less-processed protein foods when meat, poultry, and fish prices are so high, using the Shop Simple with MyPlate app:
    • Click on Browse by MyPlate Food Groups -> Protein Foods. You’ll find a list of budget-friendly protein foods, along with tips, serving ideas, recipes, and nutrition information.
      • For example, under chicken drumsticks or thighs, there’s information on freezing chicken when it’s on sale, and how to make baked chicken nuggets at home.
  1. How to cut down on food waste using the Shop Simple with MyPlate app:
    • For each budget-friendly food, the app gives tips that can help limit food waste.
      • For example, the app tells you how long milk stays fresh after opening, and how to freeze and thaw milk. It also provides ideas on how to use up foods that are about to go bad or are over-ripe.
  1. How to avoid impulse purchases of junk food using the Shop Simple with MyPlate app: Even when junk food isn’t on your shopping list, it can end up in your cart when you shop while hungry or give in to a screaming child. One way to deal with this is to order online for curbside pickup.
    • Not all grocery stores accept SNAP/EBT for online orders, but the Shop Simple with MyPlate app can help you find ones that do.
      • On the home page, click on SNAP EBT Savings. Enter your zip code and click Find Stores. Choose Online SNAP Stores. Click on the name of the store and you’ll be directed to the retailer’s website page that explains how to use your SNAP/EBT card for online orders.

Did you know?

One final tip: You can use SNAP benefits to purchase fresh herbs for cooking, as well as fruit, vegetable, and herb plants for gardening.

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Don’t Get Hooked by the See-Food Diet

A school nurse recently bought our See Food Diet Poster. She says she is trying to get all the kids on a good schedule with eating right, sleeping, and learning after all the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, she loves this poster so much that we made it into a banner for her – yes, all our posters are also available as banners!

The See Food poster features a beautiful fish swimming along in the sea. The fish is tempted by hook after hook baited with not-so-healthy food choices like soda, chili dogs, cake, and candy.

But if the fish takes its eyes off the junk food, it will find a treasure chest spilling over with healthier food choices.

The message? Don’t eat everything you see. Don’t get hooked!

Kids (and adults!) will love this colorful and fun poster. You can use it to generate discussions about:

  1. The food industry and how junk food and fast food are formulated to tempt your tastebuds.
  2. Mindful eating and how to pause instead of automatically taking the bait of unhealthy food.
  3. Planning ahead so you always have healthy foods handy.
  4. Using portion control so you can have occasional treats without overdoing it.
  5. Healthier options at restaurants and convenience stores, for those times when you find yourself hungry and away from home.

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Vacation Right, Vacation Light

It seems like everyone in America is taking or planning a vacation – or at the very least, talking about how much they want to get away!

Whether it’s a road trip or a cross-country flight, vacations tend to interfere with healthy eating and exercise habits.

Our Vacation Light materials are just what you need to help people keep their vacations as healthy as possible. In a light-hearted way, they show the difference between an Eat a Lot/Sleep a Lot vacation and an Eat Smart/Exercise Your Heart vacation.

Here’s a 3-step plan to teach students, clients, or employees about taking a healthy vacation:

  1. Create a bulletin board display using our Vacation Light poster.
  2. Plan a series of social media posts with Eat Smart/Exercise Your Heart vacation tips.
    • Use these posts to promote step 3.
    • Ask your followers to leave a comment about how they keep their vacations healthy.
  3. Teach a webinar using our Vacation Light PowerPoint show.
    • Have attendees set one goal for their vacation (eat a healthy breakfast daily, track my steps, snack on raw veggies, etc).
    • Invite attendees to report back when they return from vacation.

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

 

Sneak Peek from the Member Site: Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Today I want to share one of my favorite articles from the member-exclusive October edition of the Communicating Food for Health Newsletter.

In this handout, Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD and Lisa Andrews, RD team up to offer fun ways to help your clients improve their eating patterns and eat more fruits and vegetables. Check it out!

Are you in a fruit and vegetable slump? It’s easy to get stuck eating the same things over and over. Green salad, tomatoes, carrots. Apples, bananas, grapes. Sound familiar? It may be time to mix things up!

Make your own salad bar. Buy at least two kinds of salad greens (baby spinach and romaine, for example) and an assortment of other raw veggies. If time is an issue, go with pre-washed, pre-cut items. Every night at dinner, bring out the assortment of greens and veggies and let everyone make their own salad.

Roast and grill. The pickiest of eaters become veggie-lovers when they try something like oven-roasted Brussels sprouts or grilled fresh asparagus. Roasting and grilling bring out flavors and textures that raw or steamed vegetables just don’t offer.

Embrace the exotic. While we usually recommend that you buy local produce that’s in season, there’s a world of produce out there (like cardoon!). Trying something more exotic once in awhile won’t hurt. Ask the produce manager where you shop to point you toward unique items. Stop by ethnic grocery stores to see what they offer. Where I live, there’s a huge grocery store that carries an endless array of fruits and vegetables from all over the world. Take a short “field trip” and bring home something new to try.

Find fancier frozen veggies. If your freezer is full of peas, carrots, and corn, branch out to other vegetables! Again, this is where an ethnic grocery store comes in handy. They might have things you don’t usually serve. Some specialty stores, like Trader Joe’s, have items like frozen grilled cauliflower. Give these new tastes a try!

Get out of your fruit and veggie slump today by trying something new!

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

BONUS: Kids in a Slump? Getting Your Kids to Eat More Fruits & Veggies

We asked Lisa Andrews, a registered dietitian and mother of two, how she gets kids to eat more produce. Here are a few of her tips:

1. Take your kids when you buy food. While most parents cringe at the idea, it’s important for kids to know where their food comes from. Take them to farmer’s markets and have them help select beans, tomatoes, corn, peaches and other seasonal fruits and vegetables. They may be more likely to try it if they picked it themselves.

2. Invite your kids to help you cook. Kids can clean and snap beans or rinse fruit to be served. This may help them become more confident in the kitchen and more likely to eat food they have prepared themselves.

3. Don’t force food. Encourage your child to try one bite to see if he/she likes it. Don’t reward with treats as it may set up emotional eating later, or your child may feel obligated to eat the new food just to get to dessert.

You can find more from Lisa at www.SoundBitesNutrition.com. Look for her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/soundbitesnutritionllc) and Twitter (@nutrigirl).

Here’s a free PDF handout of this article that you can use however you’d like!

fruitvegetable

There are lots of great materials that would work in tandem with this article. For example, check out this Rainbow Salad Health Fair Display Kit — it’s a perfect way to capitalize on this lesson and get your clients to make healthful choices!

Here are a few items from that kit…